Faison v. Colvin
ORDER denying 16 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; granting 18 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; adopting 21 Memorandum and Recommendations. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 2/11/2018. (Briggeman, N.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTII CAROLINA
JACQUELINE D. FAISON,
NANCY A. BERRYlllLL,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security, )
On January 10, 2018, Magistrate Judge Numbers issued a Memorandum and
Recommendation ("M&R") and recommended that this court deny plaintiff's motion for judgment
on the pleadings [D.E. 16], grant defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 18], and
affirm defendant's final decision. See [D.E. 21]. On January 24, 2018, plaintiff objected to the
M&R [D.E. 22]. On February 2, 2018, defendant responded [D.E. 23].
"The Federal Magistrates Act requires a district court to make a de novo determination of
those portions of the magistrate judge's report or specified proposed findings or recommendations
to which objection is made." Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th
Cir. 2005) (emphasis, alteration, and quotation omitted); see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Absent a timely
objection, "a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must only satisfy itselfthat
there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation." Diamond,
416 F.3d at 315 (quotation omitted).
The court has reviewed the M&R, the record, and plaintiff's objections. As for those
portions ofthe M&R to which plaintiff made no objection, the court is satisfied that there is no clear
error on the face of the record.
The court has reviewed de novo the portions of the M&R to which plaintiff objected. The
scope of judicial review of a final decision regarding disability benefits under the Social Security
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), is limited to determining whether substantial evidence supports the
Commissioner's factual findings and whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards.
Walls v. Barnhart, 296 F.3d 287,290 (4th Cir. 2002); Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453,
1456 (4th Cir. 1990). Substantial evidence is evidence a ''reasonable mind might accept as adequate
to support a conclusion." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quotation omitted). It
"consists of more than a mere scintilla of eviden~ but may be less than a preponderance." Smith
v. Chater, 99 F.3d635, 638 (4thCir. 1996). This courtmaynotre-weigh the evidence or substitute
itsjudgmentforthatofthe Commissioner. See, e.g., Hays, 907 F.2dat 1456. Rather, in determining
whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's decision, the court's review is limited to
whether the Commissioner analyzed the relevant evidence and sufficiently explained her findings
and rationale concerning the evidence. See, e.g., SterUng Smokeless Coal Co. v. Akers, 131 F.3d
438, 43~0 (4th Cir. 1997).
Plaintiff's objections largely restate the arguments made to Judge Numbers' concerning
plaintiff's symptoms, plaintiff's residual functional capacity, the weight given to the opinion of
plaintiff's treating physician and consultative examiner, and the weight given to plaintiff's testimony.
Compare [D.E.l7] 6-12, with [D.E. 22] 1-2. However, bothJudgeNumbersand theALJ applied
the proper legal standards. See M&R at 2-14. Moreover, substantial evidence supports the AU's
analysis. See id.
In sum, plaintiff's objections to the M&R [D.E. 22] are OVERRULED, plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 16] is DENIED, defendant's motion for judgment on the
pleadings [D.E. 18] is GRANTED, defendant's final decision is AFFIRMED, and this action is
DIS:MISSED. The clerk shall close the case.
SO ORDERED. This JL day of February 2018.
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